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  • English: Dolby Digital Stereo
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The Final Countdown
Force Entertainment/Force Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 99 mins . PG . PAL


Martin Sheen is a systems analyst who is asked by his mysterious boss to join the crew and make efficiency recommendations aboard the world's largest and stupidest named nuclear powered aircraft carrier of the time, the USS Nimitz. Kirk Douglas is the capitano of the ship, and some other unknown guy plays the hotshot pilot protagonist who clashes with Sheen but is obviously very important to the plot (you have to wait till the very end to find out how important).

Anyway, while taking this bigass carrier out for a little run just a short way out from Pearl Harbor, they encounter a special effect in the sky that freaks them all out. Eventually, the script reveals that they've been thrown back in time by the special effect to just hours before the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor. Fast forward to dilemmas about time paradoxes (or is that paradoxi?) should they try to do anything to stop the attack in the past and some gung-ho babble about how the USS Nimitz could kick the whole 1941 Japanese navy's ass with one arm tied behind it's back (U! S! A! U! S! A! U! S! A!).

So essentially, what it comes down to is should they stop the Japanese? Will they change history? Will they ever get back home? And just who is Martin Sheen's mysterious boss? Watch this dvd and you'll get answers for all these questions and more. It's a good bit of hokey 80's science-fiction, kind of like a movie length episode of The Twilight Zone. Sure, it could have been better, with some dodgy effects and debatable acting at times, but that's what makes these kind of films so enjoyable. Am I right, or am I right?


The biggest issue this film faces is that it is in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio and isn't 16x9 enhanced, so the finer qualities of the picture are left a little wanting. It generally looks quite good for the age, though the print clearly wasn't of the highest quality to begin with. Colours are suitably muted as they tend to be for the era, so the picture looks kind of aged, but detail is about as good as the transfer will allow. You will clearly see a fair bit of aliasing at times, probably most noticeable on the various planes, the carrier and a car grill at the start, but to be honest it didn't bother me all that much as I got into the film. If this film is your cuppa tea, then I think you'll be able to overlook the issues with the image and just enjoy it.

The Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track isn't exactly going to knock your socks off, either. Generally it sounded pretty flat and lifeless, only occasionally managing to sound better than just average. The dialogue seemed a tad recessed at times, with the one crowd shot sounding like one person trying to imitate several people talking into a cardboard tube. Some effects were a bit limp with some minor stereo imaging work, but once again I'm sure that the transfer did what it could with must have been pretty bog average material to start with. This soundtrack could probably do with some help from your receivers gimmicky soundfields for a bit of audio pick-me-up. However, like the overall quality of the video transfer, once you get into the movie, the limitations all becomes a part of the appeal of the film.

"Extras, extras, where are you? Helloooooo....."
"Here I am! Just me, a little lonely ol' trailer to take a gander at. Please look at me. It's dark and oh so cold in here. I don't have anyone other extras to keep me company and the wolves are howling at my door again. I'm sooo afraid of being by myself, won't you please.."

In the end, if you know about this film, you'll probably want to get it, but if you've never heard of it I don't really think you'll give a damn about it to be honest. The film relies on it's limited "what-if-sci-fi-retrospective" appeal to work today, and will happily make a return to my system when I need my usual reminder that not all films need a bucket load of CG to work their magic.

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  •   And I quote...
    "U! S! A! U! S! A! U! S! A! "
    - Vince Carrozza
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Sony DVP-525
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Sony STR-DB930
    • Speakers:
          Wharfedale s500
    • Centre Speaker:
          Polk Audio CS245
    • Surrounds:
          Wharfedale s500
    • Subwoofer:
          DB Dynamics TITAN
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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